European Year of Citizens 2013

On the occasion of the 20 years following the introduction of the concept of the European citizenship (Maastricht Treaty, 1993) and within the framework of strengthening this concept through putting in force the Lisbon Treaty (articles 20, 21 (1) and 21(2) of the TFEU) and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (article 45), the year 2013 has been designated as European Year of Citizens, upon proposal of the European Commission, voted by the European Parliament (23.10.2012).

The aim of this designation is informing and awareness raising of the citizens, especially the young people, on their rights and their duties associated with the European Union citizenship, following findings that show the low knowledge among citizens for these matters. Based on European Union citizenship, every citizen of EU member states enjoys rights such as:


  1. Freedom of movement and residence within the territories of Member States
  2. The right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections of the Member State of residence
  3. The right to petition the European Parliament and appeal to the EU Ombudsman
  1. The right of  unrepresented EU citizens to receive the protection of the diplomatic and consular authorities of any other Member State in a third country  where their Member State of nationality is not represented
  1. The right to organise or support, together with other EU citizens and through a signature collection process, a citizens’ initiative to call for new EU legislation


The European Year of Citizens 2013 seeks the promotion of the enjoyment of these rights by EU citizens so as to facilitate understanding EU policies and activities, make stronger the sense of “belonging” to the European Union and to enhance citizens’ participation in democratic life and their smooth integration to the common market.


The European Year of Citizens 2013 is based on the significance of fundamental rights and liberties within European Union, draws principles from the Stockholm Programme which citizens right at the heart of the European policies in the area of freedom, security and justice, the EU Citizenship Report 2010 “Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights”, the EU Citizenship Report 2013 “EU Citizens: your rights, your future” as well as the “Europe 2020” Strategy, and is connected to the European Citizens’ Initiative, set out in the Lisbon Treaty.


Full text of Decision 1093/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23.11.2012.

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